KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

A Post-Election Health Law Inventory: It’s Like Cleaning Out The Closet — Some Things Have To Go, But Some May Have A Few More Seasons

Opinion and editorial writers around the country analyze how certain parts of the Affordable Care Act, as well as other health policies, may fare in the Trump era.

The Washington Post: Are Trump And The Republicans Really Going To Repeal Obamacare?
Since they took control of the House in 2010, Republicans have held more than 60 votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, in what surely must be a record in American legislative history. So of course they’re going to get right on it as soon as President Trump is inaugurated and can sign the repeal. In fact, Kellyanne Conway said yesterday that Trump is considering “convening a special session” of Congress to repeal the law. “It would be a pretty remarkable move,” she said, which indeed it would be, because Congress will already be in session, but apparently the people in Donald Trump’s inner circle are under the impression that Congress is like the Texas legislature that meets once every two years and has to be called back into special session to pass laws. (Paul Waldman, 11/14)

Sacramento Bee: Repealing Obamacare Won't Be Simple For Trump
When it comes to their oft-repeated vow to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President-elect Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress are like the dog that chased the car. Now that they’ve caught it, what are they going to do? (Daniel Weintraub, 11/14)

The New York Times: Why Keeping Only The Popular Parts Of Obamacare Won’t Work
The pre-existing conditions policies are very popular. Nearly everyone has relatives or friends with illnesses in their past — cancer, arthritis, depression, even allergies — that could have shut them out of the individual insurance markets before Obamacare, so it’s an issue that hits close to home for many Americans. But keeping those provisions while jettisoning others is most likely no fix at all. Those policies that make the insurance market feel fairer for sick Americans who need it can really throw off the prices for everyone else. That’s why Obamacare also includes less popular policies designed to balance the market with enough young, healthy people. (Margot Sanger-Katz, 11/14)

The Wall Street Journal: The Trump ObamaCare Panic
Democrats are already panicked that Donald Trump will repeal ObamaCare and throw millions of people off the subsidy rolls, while some conservatives seem panicked that the President-elect will renege on his campaign promises and millions of people won’t be thrown off the entitlement. Like most inflamed political questions after Mr. Trump’s victory, the health-care debate would benefit from some perspective. (11/14)

The New York Times: What Could Be Worse Than Repealing All Of Obamacare?
Donald J. Trump made headlines on Friday by saying he would like to keep two components of the Affordable Care Act: allowing young people to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, and continuing the ban on the exclusion of pre-existing conditions by insurers. These have long been staples of proposed Republican replacements for the act, but their reaffirmation by the president-elect heightens the importance of understanding what these provisions do, and what they don’t. (Jonathan Gruber, 11/14)

The New York Times: Politics Aside, We Know How To Fix Obamacare
President Obama’s Affordable Care Act marketplaces were supposed to give consumers choices of health plans from insurers that compete to keep premiums down. But fewer insurers are participating, and premiums are increasing sharply. Fixing this problem will obviously be politically difficult with a Republican-controlled Congress that has vowed to “repeal and replace.” ... From a policy standpoint, however, some solutions to problems facing the marketplaces are ones that Republicans have endorsed before: for Medicare. (Austin Frakt, 11/14)

Los Angeles Times: Selling Health Insurance Across State Lines Is A Favorite GOP 'Reform.' Here's Why It Makes No Sense.
Of all the healthcare reform nostrums in all the world, the most popular among Republicans in the U.S. is allowing the sale of insurance policies across state lines. The idea has been part of every GOP proposal to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. It was written into GOP presidential candidate John McCain’s platform in 2008 and Mitt Romney’s in 2012, and shows up right there in paragraph two of President-elect Trump’s healthcare policy statement. To healthcare economists and other experts in the field, however, the idea is nonsense. (Michael Hiltzik, 11/14)

The Columbus Dispatch: Health-Care Reform Needed, Possible
The Affordable Care Act was a good idea poorly executed at a politically divisive time. Come Jan. 20, the Republican Party will control the federal government, and scrapping the act — which is so tied to President Barack Obama that even he calls it Obamacare — will be a top priority of President Donald Trump and probably House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as well. Many have long urged Congress and the White House to try to fix the ACA, believing that it would never be replaced so long as Democrats held the White House or controlled part or all of Congress. When the GOP runs Washington, a better idea is to dismantle the ACA while keeping what’s best about the 2010 law. (11/15)

The Health Care Blog: The Age Of Trumpian Uncertainty
The new Chief Executive Officer of the United States of America Inc. will take office January 20th and likely make good on his promise to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It only requires a majority in both houses of Congress to pass and that’s assured based on the election results last week. (Paul Keckley, 11/14)

Bloomberg: Trump Puts Hospitals In The ICU 
Hospital companies are just as miserable about the election of Donald Trump as pharma companies are ecstatic.  Obamacare repeal is one Trump's few proposals amounting to more than a detail-free promise of something Yuge. It's also one of the few areas of wholehearted agreement between him and GOP congressional leadership. If and when it will actually happen, to what degree, and the structure of any replacement are all unknown. But just about any move in this direction will hurt health-care providers that have benefited from the law's efforts to make health care more accessible. (Max Nisen, 11/11)

Stat: Donald Trump Should Be Good Medicine For The Drug Industry
Many Republicans would like to speed the Food and Drug Administration process for getting new medicines to patients. That’s going to remain a high priority. All one has to do is look at the health care page on Trump’s transition website, which late last week made clear that change is in the offing with this one sentence: “Reform the Food and Drug Administration, to put greater focus on the need of patients for new and innovative medical products.” (Ed Silverman, 11/15)

Fortune: Why The Trump Drug Rally Won't Last
The stock market has been a lousy prognosticator of late. Prior to the election, Mr. Market seemed utterly convinced of a Clinton win. (It didn’t happen.) Then, as the outcome looked clear, it predicted panic—then galloped giddily into euphoria. (Hapless traders trying to chase these ups and downs no doubt mistimed them—because, well, it’s a sucker’s game to try to time the market. But then you knew that…) That said, the market has seemed to send a more consistent message regarding the pharma and biotech industries. (Clifton Leaf, 11/14)

Bloomberg: Trump's Threat To Abortion Rights Isn't Immediate 
Donald Trump’s comments on “60 Minutes” suggest that the president-elect has assimilated a version of the traditional moderate Republican position on abortion rights: call for the repeal of Roe v. Wade, while hoping that in practice, abortions will still be available somehow. The logic of this position is purely political. At least some of the Republican base wants abortion outlawed, but lots of people who voted for Trump would be extremely upset if they or a woman they cared about couldn’t actually get an abortion. (Noah Feldman, 11/14)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.